“As The Summer Season Moves Into Autumn, Aging In Place Goes On”

Most of us enjoy the changing seasons. It gives us something to look forward to experiencing during the year – cooler weather after the hot summer months, warmer weather after the cold winter, new growth in the spring, colorful leaves in the fall, changing array of sports to watch or participate in, gardens, harvest, change of wardrobe, more indoor activities in the cooler months, and more outdoor activities in the warmer ones.

The changing seasons provide us with anticipation – of wanting it to come for the change it brings, the new look and color that comes with it, and as a way of marking our passage through life. The seasons are equal in their length – three months each – but not in the way we perceive them.

For instance, spring can run (unofficially) from the first buds we see on the trees, or the early flowers, or even the sighting of robins and other birds, to the Memorial Day weekend or even the first official day of summer in mid-June. In some locations, a spring atmosphere, if not the moderate temperatures, prevail until mid-summer. Summer is the shortest season and easy to recognize. The longer days and the warmer to even hotter temperatures are associated with this time, in addition to summer vacations, summer camps, and outdoor recreation.

Fall is the favorite season of many because it ushers in cooler air, the leaves change color, it’s harvesttime, and it’s still warm enough for dressing in lightweight layers. Fall, depending on one’s perspective can extend unofficially from Labor Day to Thanksgiving or longer (even though officially it runs until mid-December).

We find ourselves on the threshold of autumn (or fall) now. This is a fun time for many. Autumn also is a metaphor for aging as we have lived past those very active youthful days of spring and summer and are looking forward to doing life on our own terms – at whatever pace we desire. There are still going to be active times – like an occasional summer day that appears in September or October. There are going to be more quiet times as well.

Like the fall leaves, the autumn of our lives is a time to reflect on the beauty of the experiences we have enjoyed over the years and to plan some activities for ourselves rather than the more active ones we enjoyed with teams and competition in earlier years. Autumn generally is a peaceful time – outside and for us.

So, if autumn or fall is a metaphor for aging and turning the corner on what many people much younger consider to be senior citizen status, let’s make the most of this beautiful season. This is the time when we likely are living in the homes we have selected as our long-term, permanent, forever homes (although these could have been identified or so designated at a much earlier time of life or season).

If we aren’t talking about ourselves specifically, we could be thinking about family members or our clients who are aging in place and desire to do it quite comfortably, safely, and enjoyably into the future.

In the now concluding summer months when we spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the extended daylight hours, the pleasant late evening breezes, the sweet smell of a summer rain (not a storm), and the many outdoor activities (playing with the kids, grandkids, or the dog, cooking on the grill and then eating outside, swimming in the pool, going for a walk in the garden, or having a late evening campfire), it’s time to turn the approaching fall months. We will still get to use the outdoors, but we will begin transitioning to the inside.

We need to make sure that items that were on our list of things to do before the weather turned cool again have been done – or that plans are underway to work on them. For our own homes, we can set the example for our clients by accomplishing them in rather short order and then moving on to our clients’ homes. It gives us an additional perspective also of what might need to be done to weatherize a home, make it more accessible, provide for more storage to get items off the floor or sitting where they don’t need to be, and generally make sure there is sufficient lighting for the additional time to be spent indoors and the earlier darkness. Then we can take our first-hand, empirical knowledge to the marketplace to help our aging in place clients. Aging in place concerns may be more evident during the autumn season, so this is a great time to act on them.

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